Savor California’s Wine Country at a Bed and Breakfast

by Jane Leisteiner

Whether you are a novice epicurean or someone passionate about fine wines, there is something for every palate to enjoy in California’s wine country. Both Napa and Sonoma counties offer hundreds of wineries to enjoy, as well as galleries, boutiques, gourmet cooking classes, hot air balloon rides, hiking and biking adventures, and much more. These two wine country counties also offer some of California’s top bed and breakfasts.

Just two blocks from the historic Sonoma Plaza, you’ll find the Inn at Sonoma, a gracious bed and breakfast full of charm and amenities. Each of the individually decorated guest rooms includes a fireplace and either a king or queen bed. Several rooms also include a private patio. Soft, fluffy robes and European bath products are just a few of the thoughtful touches. Guests can borrow DVDs and snuggle up in their cozy bed and enjoy a movie, or they soak in the rooftop hot tub and gaze at the stars. This Sonoma bed and breakfast is just minutes from the local farmers market, as well as many wineries. There’s even a popular cooking school nearby, where you can take a lesson or two.

Another regional Sonoma favorite is the Healdsburg Inn, an early 19th-century inn that is just steps away from the historic Healdsburg Plaza. Guests at this boutique inn are pampered from the moment they awake to enjoy a full breakfast to the evening turndown service, which includes the finest European chocolates. Rooms are filled with amenities, from fine linens and fluffy towels to luxury bath products and televisions with DVD players. Guests can borrow movies and books from the innkeepers. The town of Healdsburg is a total delight, and you’ll never run out of activities. Kayak along the Russian River, visit one of the many local wineries, shop at upscale boutiques and antique stores, or just enjoy a leisurely picnic in the park.

If you are planning a trip to Napa, consider a stay at the historic Blackbird Inn. Located in downtown Napa, the inn is a wonderful example of the Craftsman style, from its abundance of stone to its gleaming, rich woodwork. The guest rooms feature either a queen or king bed and many of the private baths include a jetted spa tub. Most rooms also feature a fireplace and some have a private balcony or patio. This Napa bed and breakfast is close to plenty of wineries and fine restaurants.

Another option for travelers to the Napa Valley is the village of Yountville, which is close to wineries (including the famed Domaine Chandon). Also close by are hot air balloon rides and one of the nation’s most prestigious restaurants, French Laundry. You’ll find a bit of France everywhere you go in Yountville, especially at Lavender, a boutique bed and breakfast that’s a bit like a visit to Provence. The luxurious guest rooms boast fireplaces and private bath with jetted spa tubs. One room has its own private patio complete with an outdoor hot tub. In the mornings, a full breakfast is served in the enclosed veranda. The innkeepers also present afternoon wine and hors d’oeuvres, as well as offering home-baked cookies during the day.

Maison Fleurie is another Yountville offering, with lush, romantic guest rooms and plenty of French Country charm. This Napa Valley bed and breakfast’s name translates to “flowering house,” and the inn’s grounds are dotted with flowers of every color of the rainbow. The guest rooms range from spacious retreats with fireplaces, window seats and sitting areas to a cozy room with exposed brick walls and a queen bed topped with luxurious linens and a handsome teddy bear. Another room boasts a hand-painted mural.

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